Cake Smash and first birthday milestones are some of the most fun photos I get to take- your baby is starting to show more personality, show you what they like and don’t like, and becoming their own little person.

Because of all those things though, I like to try and make sure everyone is set up to have the best experience and have realistic expectations. Some babies will *love* the cake smash experience, especially if they tend to be outgoing, like new things, don’t mind getting messy, and enjoy new foods. Some may be interested but hesitant, maybe they haven’t had cake before, or the experience of sitting on the floor with a whole cake to themselves is a lot, or maybe they don’t like to get messy (this was my son- he ate frosting but very carefully with just one finger!) It’s also VERY normal for babies to be overwhelmed and need some time, or even cry. If that’s the case we take breaks, comfort them, maybe help them explore the cake, or put on some music they like. I’ve never had any cake smash where we weren’t able to get adorable photos- but what that looks like for every baby is different and I encourage you to embrace your baby’s personality and realize these photos will reflect what they’re like right now!

The setup

My cake smash setups are very simple, on a tan backdrop so they can get as messy as needed, with few distractions. I do have some greenery drapes I can use, and if you’d like to bring some balloons or a banner you’re welcome to as well. For photos before the cake portion I have various colors and sizes of blankets we can use to add some color, as well as some props like a bench or even the bigger rattan chair, as well as some flooring options (a dark brown faux wood, and a cream colored distressed floor drop). If you have anything specific you like make sure to let me know beforehand!

What to expect

The first thing to know is that these sessions are usually quite short. The attention span at this age is pretty low, and they’re usually pretty mobile, so we work quickly and get a greater range of photos in a smaller time span, while keeping your baby happy.

Generally we will start some some photos without the cake around at all. We can use a different outfit for these if you’d like, and have some extra setup in the studio since we aren’t worried about a mess yet. This usually lasts about 10 minutes. There is always LOTS of encouragement from parents here- either next to your baby if they need that or preferably from over my shoulder. Peek a boo, singing, silly sounds… the name of the game with 1 year olds!

When we’re ready for the cake, we will get everything set up, with the cake out (I have cake stands we can start with, usually the cake ends up on the floor in the end for easy access). I’ll have the parent put the baby back behind the cake, get ready to shoot, and then let them go and we see what happens! Usually they’re at least interested in exploring the cake but something they need some encouragement. If they have a snack they like (puffs, cheerios, goldfish, etc) we can even stick those inside the cake to encourage them to reach in (I can tell you if you look at my portfolio this is happening in some photos but from the camera you’d never know!). What I can almost guarantee will happen is they’ll, at some point, decide to walk or crawl away and the parent will be picking them up and bringing them back (so I can keep shooting). This means the parent will almost definitely get messy too! Overall this can go anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on how they’re feeling about it all- either end of that range is normal and that doesn’t mean anything is going wrong!

After, everyone can get cleaned up and changed and ready to go- I have a bathroom for bigger wipedowns if needed!

What to bring

  • Change of clothes for *everyone* coming, just in case
  • Outfit for your baby for the cake smash portion (or just a diaper cover or pants if you’d like)
  • Outfit for the milestone portion before the cake smash if you want a different one
  • Accessories if you’d like- a crown, necklaces, cake topper, etc (I do have a gold crown you’re welcome to use!)
  • Baby’s favorite snack that’s finger-food sized